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University of Michigan

Robotics

Bipedal robot conquers uneven ground

Getting a robot to walk is one thing, getting it to walk without tripping on the first obstacle it encounters is quite another. Engineers at the University of Michigan are developing a set of algorithms that allow an unsupported bipedal robot named MARLO to negotiate steep slopes, thin layers of snow, and uneven, unstable ground without toppling over. Designed as a general purpose robotic system, the algorithms may also have applications in advanced prosthetics.Read More

No more heart-in-a-backpack for Michigan man

In January 2015, then-24-year-old Stan Larkin left The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center with an artificial heart in his chest and the pump that drove it on his back in a bag. Larkin was the first person to receive the completely artificial heart in Michigan and for a year, it kept him alive by pushing blood through his circulatory system. Now, Larkin has traded his backpack in for a real heart, having gotten a transplant last month.Read More

Medical

Kidney-on-a-chip may save lives

Because they filter our blood, our kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage from toxins in our bloodstream. That's why kidney failure can occur when people are given too high a dosage of certain medications. So, how do drug developers know how much is safe? Typically, it's through animal testing, although University of Michigan researchers have now developed something that could be more accurate – a "kidney-on-a-chip."Read More

Medical

Prematurely born lambs kept alive in artificial external placenta – human babies could be next

When babies are born extremely premature – before 24 weeks of development in the womb – their lungs aren't strong enough to provide their organs with oxygen they need to develop properly. Nor are they strong enough to handle artificial ventilation. The result can mean a brief life for these tiniest of babies. A new artificial placenta that mimics conditions in the womb being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan might provide new hope.Read More

Electronics

High performance transistors created on flexible plastic sheets

Using a technique known as nanoimprint lithography, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and partners have created a breakthrough method to allow the simple manufacture of inexpensive, high-performance, wireless-capable, flexible Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors that overcome many of the operation problems encountered in devices manufactured using standard techniques. Created on large rolls of pliable plastic, these MOSFETs could be used to make a host of devices ranging from wearable electronics to bendable sensors.
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Aircraft

Can an up-close study of bird flight clear shapeshifting aircraft wings for takeoff?

The ability of birds to fly more efficiently by changing the shape of their wings has inspired a number of approaches to developing low-energy aircraft. If this technique can be replicated, where individual feathers are adjusted to guide the animals through the air, it could make for vehicles that are lighter, faster and more maneuverable. With a view to making such shape-shifting wings a reality, scientists are about to get up close and personal with our avian friends, launching into the most detailed analysis of bird flight ever conducted in the name of aerospace engineering.Read More

Sports

Next-gen football helmet blunts impulse and impact

University of Michigan researchers have entered the race to build a lightweight, more affordable and more effective football helmet, with a system they've called Mitigatium. The design incorporates three different layers that are meant to blunt some dangerous physics that today's helmet designs ignore.Read More

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